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Star Wars: KOTOR Novice Battle Strategies Part III: Your Lightsaber and You
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-Star Wars: KOTOR Novice Battle Strategies Part I: Planning
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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Novice Battle Strategies Part I:
Planning

Written By: J. Michael Neal

If you haven’t discovered the bliss that is KOTOR, do so now. Right now. Go on, I’ll wait right here until you get back with your copy…

*whistles a tune and watches clock on wall*

All ready? Good, now, before you get started on the most epic and fulfilling journey of your existence, you must know a few things. For starters, this game isn’t very difficult, in all honesty, but it can be quite the pain in the ass at certain points if you don’t have the right strategies, and considering how rooted in the D&D based role-playing universe this title is, many of you console-only folk might not be prepared for what lay ahead. Luckily we’re here to help! This three part series will give you novices out there the information needed to plan your Jedi’s progression, your party’s usage, lightsaber customization, and basic combat strategies without spoiling anything for you. So pull out a pad and pencil and prepare to take notes, because this stuff will be on the final exam…

Part I: Planning

If you don’t plan your character from the very beginning around what Jedi class you will eventually pick later in the game, you’ve already missed the first major step. Having the “wrong” starting class for your intended calling won’t kill you, but it will sure make tapping your Jedi’s full potential more difficult. Let’s begin by breaking down the three classes:

  • Guardians – Kick ass warriors of the Jedi Order. Excellent fighters, standard Force users.
  • Sentinels – Do just as much talking as they do ass kicking. Slightly above standard fighters, slightly above standard Force users.
  • Consular – Brains over brawn. Standard fighters, excellent Force users.

So, the question is who would you rather be - Yoda or Mace? If you’d rather be Yoda, go with the Consular, get as many wicked-bad Force powers as you can; if you’d rather be Mace, go with the Guardian, and learn to wield a lightsaber like nobody’s business. If you’re more for balance, pick a Sentinel. This is totally a preference thing, as any one can work their way through the game with relative ease, but I’d rather excel in one area and be relatively weak in another than just be pretty good all-round, so I tend to steer clear of the Sentinel.

Now, who you want to be later on will effect who you should be in the beginning. If you want to be a Guardian, pick a Solider for starters, that way you learn more Feats and gain more vitality, capitalizing off the Guardian’s combat advantage. If you want to be a Consular, pick a Scoundrel. Their skill bonuses can be used to increase your Persuasion skill, a Consular’s most vital asset, and their Intelligence bonuses will increase your mastery of the Force. Last, but not least, if Sentinels are your bag, the Scout is recommended, as like the Sentinels the scout has an even balance between social/mental and physical/Force abilities.

If you’d much rather do your own thing, let’s say you want a Consular that can hold his own in a duel or a Guardian that’s a skilled negotiator, feel free to make a hybrid by combining starting classes and Jedi positions. After all, this is a game where experimentation and open-ended character development is encouraged. You are more than welcomed to forge your own path and tailor-make a character perfect for you. Just be warned that they might not turn out as well as expected.

Once that is complete, it’s time to think about where to set your stats. This is relatively easy to plan if you know what kind of Jedi you’d like to become and you’ve already picked the appropriate starting class: more physical combat means higher Strength (to govern how much damage your melee strikes do) and Dexterity (to govern how easily you dodge incoming attacks), putting whatever is left into Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma evenly; more Force abilities means higher Intelligence (to govern skill modifiers) and Wisdom (to govern Force power modifiers), putting whatever is left into Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma evenly. Keep in mind that throughout the game items can be used to increase particular stats and that this can be used to either compensate or compliment certain attributes levels.

With all this behind us we are now up to the most important part of character planning: Skills, Feats, and Force Abilities. Not only are these vital to who your character is and what they are able to do throughout the game, but it is something you cannot second guess, as once a skill, Feat, or power is added and accepted it cannot be taken away later on. Wasting is inevitable, but with my help we can keep that down to the bare minimum during your first outing.

Skills
 

  • Computer Use – Focusing on this skill is not needed for your main character. If you are a Scoundrel, knock yourself out, otherwise I say leave this skill up to the professionals: Carth, Mission, HK-47, and T3-M4.
  • Demolitions – Not needed, but someone in your party should be able to disarm mines, and if you want an all Jedi party it might as well be you. Be sure to use equipment that increases your Demolition and Awareness as well. You can, however, leave all the disarming up to more capable characters like Mission, HK, and Zaalbar.
  • Stealth – Totally unneeded. If you really need to sneak past something in the game, use Mission or Juhani, but otherwise ignore this skill altogether.
  • Awareness – Although this skill is incredibly useful, don’t spend too much on it, as all it really does is spot mines.
  • Persuade – Now we’re getting somewhere. The majority of the game is spent talking NPCs into and out of things, and that is where Persuade comes in. A high Persuade can get you a lower price from a Hutt, or open up a hidden side quest, among other things that generally make your gaming life easier, and should receive the bulk of your skill points.
  • Repair – Like Demolitions and Computer Use, this skill isn’t needed. It can make clearing some of the “dungeons” a little easier, but your points can be better spent elsewhere. Leave the repairing up to the specialists: Big Z, HK, and T3.
  • Security – This skill is also unneeded for your main character. Leave the unlocking up to characters like Carth, HK, T3, and Mission and if you absolutely have to open something, just use Bash.
  • Treat Injury – Now there is some debate over the usefulness of this skill. Some feel it is totally unimportant, others find it vital. However, I speak from experience when I say that the game can be beaten with a lone point in Treat Injury, yet it is no harm in putting more points into the skill. Treat Injury only effects how much health items give you, it will not boost the Jedi Heal ability, and this is where the debate lays. Some feel, and rightly so, that you can play the entire game relying on Heal alone, having no use for health items as long as Jedi are in your party and therefore having no use for Treat Injury. Others, however, feel that Heal is often not enough and a medium to high Treat Injury is needed for later in the game to compensate for slow Force Point regeneration during extended fights. Both views are pretty accurate, however. My suggestion is to listen to the latter and use Treat Injury for your virgin run, and save the slightly more hairy Heal-only style of play for subsequent games.
     

Feats

There are three Feats that every Jedi should master, regardless of class. Be sure your main character has at least level one in:

Empathy

Even a Guardian has to talk his/her way out of sticky situations from time to time. Empathy improves persuasion among other things and can be used to either offset low Charisma or further boost a high one. Levels two and three are optional.

Jedi Defense

Deflect incoming blaster fire with your lightsaber thanks to this skill. Plan to go all the way to level three, as it’s vital for combatants and support Jedi alike, especially when used in conjunction with the Jenruax crystal.

Conditioning

This increases “Save Throws”, meaning it helps you avoid taking damage or being hit with some nasty negative effect like Slow or Poison. Levels two and three are optional.

Now, if you plan to focus on combat, you’ll absolutely need Flurry or Critical Strike, Lightsaber, and Dueling or Two Weapon Fighting. Flurry and Critical Strike both do insane amounts of damage later in the game, therefore you’ll only need one or the other, and those who plan to use two lightsabers or a dual bladed saber has no need for Dueling, just as a single lightsaber user has no need for Two Weapon Fighting. Sure, you can have them all, but you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Those extra points could go towards Toughness, Implants, or something else that will come in handy.

Some things you don’t want to waste time with are Melee or Blaster, etc. Proficiencies. You’ll never use them if you are a Jedi, and no, Melee does not affect lightsaber abilities, only regular melee weaponry. Also, any other blaster related Feat should be avoided as well. They will do you no good. Finally, only go for Armor Proficiencies if you are going to turn towards the dark side or have a lot of left over points. Too many vital Jedi abilities are restricted by armor, and although you may not think those robes look too protective, what with such low Defense and all, you’ll never notice the loss since the Dexterity bonus eventually makes your character impossible to hit, especially if they have Reflex enhancing equipment, Dexterity modifiers, and high Jedi Defense. Dark Jedi can get away with wearing armor, however, as most of the dark Force powers you’ll end up relying on aren’t armor restricted like many of the light Force abilities.

Ok, so you have the basic outline of your character down, what now? Now comes the really fun part – Force Abilities. Sure, it takes a little while to get that far, but trust me - it’s worth it. We’ll just leave it at that. Be sure to check out the second installment of this guide to find out the best ways to plan your Force progression, as well as how to use your other characters.

Posted: 8-13-03
 


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